Skip Bayless Shreds Stephen A Smith’s ‘Recklessly Inaccurate’ Story About Joining ‘First Take’

There has been, over the course of history, thousands of people who have been paid lots of money to holler at one another on television. For a period of time, two folks who teamed up to do this were Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith on ESPN’s First Take. During a recent cameo on JJ Redick’s The Old Man and the Three podcast, Smith, who is still at ESPN, told the story of how he came to join Bayless, who has since departed for Fox Sports, on the show.

The gist: Skip approached Stephen A, with whom he was friendly, and said that he brought the show a long way. Despite that, it lacked a certain something in the ratings and revenue department, so Bayless went up to him in a parking lot, said “I need you,” Smith eventually said yes, and they went to No. 1. Here is the clip:

It’s a nice story, but Bayless has a big ol problem with it. A visibly upset Bayless addressed this on his podcast, which apparently has a huge production budget based on some of the camera work going on here.

“Lemme gather myself,” Bayless said. “What!? I cannot tell you how wrong that was. It was so recklessly inaccurate, it was such shocking fabrication.”

Bayless claimed his wife sent this over to him, and his immediate thought was that “my brother Stephen A” turned on him.

“Stephen A was suggesting that he saved, and then made, First Take,” Bayless said. “How can you save and make a show that was already as big a billion-to-one success story as ESPN had ever seen? The ratings and the revenues were impossibly great when Stephen A joined me in 2012. With Stephen A as my partner, First Take would never touch the NFL Monday ratings that it hit in 2011 pre-Stephen A. And I had taken First Take as far as I could? Seriously? I was just getting started, the rocket had just launched the year before in 2011. Stephen A, how dare you?”

It’s a media beef that, quite frankly, none of us saw coming. It has, however, appeared to pique the interest of Kevin Durant.

If there is one thing we know about the parties involved in this beef, it is that there will be a lot more said about it over the next however many days. They are professional arguers, after all.